Buddy Holly Glasses

One of the most popular rockstars to ever live was Buddy Holly. His carrer had only spanned a year and a half but in that time he had become one of the biggest names in pop. Buddy Holly’s Glasses were as iconic as he was. 

Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock TX. When he was 14 he came home and announced that a school eye test had revealed that buddy needed prescription eyeglasses. His mother took him to an eye Dr. who confirmed this, but like any teenager buddy didn’t want to wear glasses. Instead, he tried out a brand new device called contact lenses. But early contacts were big, rigid , and very uncomfortable. You couldn’t wear them for more than 10 minutes without being miserable. It wasn’t very long before he gave them up. 

Back to eyeglasses. For most of his early life buddy would wear browline glasses, a type of 1950s combination of plastic and wire. Still, as he spent more and more time playing on stage he would sometimes try to do without then. Buddy once dropped his guitar pick. He got down on his arms and knees looking for them, He realized that he needed his glasses, that his contact lenses wouldn’t do. He realized that if people were gonna like Buddy Holly, they were gonna like his Buddy Holly Glasses! 

And like him they did. A lot. Buddy and his band, the crickets, hit it big in the summer of 1957 with the single “that’ll be the day”. Touring America that year they made friends with the Everly brothers. One day Phil looked at buddy and said “if you’re gonna wear glasses on stage, wear glasses”.

That was when buddy made the switch to horn rims. With buddy Hollys Horn rim Glasses he went solo and moved to NY. He decided to go with even heavier horn rim glasses. One day his optometrist was on vacation in Mexico and saw a pair of mexican horn rimmed glasses and thought they would be perfect as Buddy Holly’s eye glasses. Buddy took an instant liking to them and wore them ever since.

On Feb 3rd 1959 Buddy was in an airplane crash killing all passengers on board. Buddy Holly was buried in Lubbock TX. No one noticed that Buddy Holly’s glasses were lost at the scene. Holly was 22 when he died. John Lennon once commented that he used to take his round glasses off all the time, but buddy made it okay to wea glasses on stage. 

For more than 20 there was no sign of the missing Buddy Holly Eyeglass frames. Until one day, in 1980 when the sheriff of the Iowa county where the crash occurred found a manilla envelope marked Charles Harden Holly. Inside along with a few other items were Buddy Holly’s glasses, one of the ear pieces snapped. The lenses had been broken out and the plastic badly scratched. Since there were no record of the glasses on file it was decided that they had been found near the crash site by a farmer. The sheriff returned Buddy Holly’s frames to his widow. 

In 1996 she sold the glasses to an agency dedicated to promoting Holly’s hometown of Lubbock TX, which in turn donated the glasses to the city’s Buddy Holly center. The price tag was $80,000. They represent the pop identity, who we think of when we think of buddy holly. They are still on display at the Buddy Holly center in Lubbock TX.